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TOURIST ATTRACTION

Solstice in Santa Barbara
updated: Jun 25, 2011, 8:30 AM

By the dedicated staff, photos by Edhat subscribers

Santa Barbara throws three big summer parties each year - Solstice, Fourth of July, and Fiesta. They're all fun in different ways. But the one with the most glitter and confetti is Summer Solstice.

Stilts, paper mache, the mayor in costume, and lots and lots of color and flowers ... these are among the sights you'll see at today's parade and many others to come. See all the Edhat photo galleries of past Solstice parades linked below these helpful tricks and tips for a great Solstice celebration.

We asked our local Edhat experts to share their best advice for enjoying Summer Solstice. The parade attracts a big crowd, so plan on arriving early, staying late to shop downtown, and walking a bit if you're going to drive your own car.

Here are the top five pieces of advice our subscribers have for Summer Solstice visitors:

Wear your sunscreen. Even if it's a June Gloom day in Santa Barbara, those UV rays make their way through the clouds, and protecting your skin is a very good idea. The parade takes several hours to make its way up State Street, so plan to hang out and be outside for a while as the dancers and drummers make their way past. And you'll need to arrive several hours early to get a good viewing spot along the State Street sidewalk. Many locals set out towels and chairs to reserve their spots the day before.

Check it out ahead of time. The Solstice Workshop is the place to get your glitter on before the fun and festivities begin. It's also where groups and individuals design and construct their floats in the weeks before the Solstice parade. The workshop is typically open from Wednesday to Friday starting in mid-May, from 3 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m. Donated supplies and creative ideas are in abundance at the workshop at 631 Garden Street. Check out some photos of the float work underway this year right here.

Getting there is half the fun. Ride a bike or take the bus. Getting to the parade, which goes from State and Cota to State and Micheltorena, can be a little challenging. Be sure to wear shoes that you can walk in if you plan to drive and park before the parade. Look for parking in the residential streets on the east and west sides of State Street, which will be blocked off along the parade route. MTD is a good option and you can see a full schedule of bus routes here. Bikes are a great Solstice transportation option, especially if they're decorated with flowers or streamers (LINK), and can be locked up most anywhere.

Festivus for the rest of us. The Solstice Parade just lasts for a few hours, but the Solstice Festival lasts Friday and Saturday. See the full schedule of bands for this weekend right here) After the parade, follow the participants to Alameda Park and hang out for a few hours, enjoying the music, food, wares and bubbles. If you're not already in Solstice attire, you can be by the time you leave.

The parade. Color, creativity, and community. Solstice is an organic community celebration with local organizations working together to build their floats and then marching the parade route together. For some great parting advice, we turn it over to the Edhat comments board:

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I like to take a Vespa to Alameda Park, then walk down to "any side street" and State, getting there by about 11:30, bringing a folding chair, water, sunscreen, snacks, and sweatshirt if in June gloom. Meet friends at predesignated side street. Then when the barriers go up to close the street, run out and claim a prime spot!

Following the ending drums, walk up Santa Barbara Street to Alameda Park, claim another prime spot (not downwind of the portapotties), and enjoy the day! This has been my MO for over 20 years, and I only share it now because I've (sadly) moved to another state and will be unable to attend this year. Have fun for me!

**

Wear your bright colors and comfortable shoes and a hat and/or suncreen. This is an opportunity to apply and distribute your glitter supply.

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There is a lot to take in, really focus on seeing as much of it as you can & if you missed anything you can go to Alameda Park & see the floats on display. Let the festive Solstice vibe inside you and celebrate the SUMMER SUN :)

**

Make sure you follow the parade to the park, where the party continues with food and more music.

**

Wear fairy wings! What other summer's day can you wear fairy wings?

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Here is the Sunday Edhat newsletter for 06/27/10. The dedicated staff was at the Solstice Parade taking pictures and counting drums. (06/27/10)
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The dedicated staff took a ton of pictures at the Solstice Parade on Saturday. And some of them are pretty good. Click here to see them. (06/27/10)
2715 5
Momoko Gill got some nice photos of a group of all-female drummers in Saturday's Summer Solstice parade. [pics] (06/28/10)
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As zany and wild as the Summer Solstice is, it's hard not to be drawn to the beautiful and colorful faces in the parade. David Powdrell photos. [pics] (06/28/10)
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Doug and Michele each sent photos from Summer Solstice 2010. Here are their two favorite shots. [pics] (06/29/10)
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Joe Moschero's bright and cheery Solstice pics will make you wish you could go back and do Saturday all over again. [pics] (06/30/10)
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Paulina Rzankowska's Solstice photos show some bright, elaborate costumes from the parade on Saturday. [pics] (07/01/10)
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During the Solstice parade, John Wiley witnessed the moment when Godzilla met Spot the dog. [pic] (07/01/10)
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Where are the best places in town to get creatives ideas and supplies for Summer Solstice costumes? Looking for remnants, glitter, and inspiration. (06/04/11)
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The raising of colorful Solstice flags lining State Street ushers in the beginning of summer in Santa Barbara and the coming festivities. [pic] (06/21/11)
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Edhat is collecting tips for Solstice newbies about how to best navigate Saturday's Solstice parade and festival. What advice do you have? (06/22/11)
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As the Summer Solstice parade approaches on Saturday, work on the floats at the Summer Solstice workshop is in full swing. Here are some shots of the progress. [pics] (06/24/11)
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